The Sheriff’s Silence

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This Tuesday Montgomery county voters have a chance to send a message to a bully looking to get re-elected! We’re not shocked that Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson is hoping voters will simply ignore the horrible death of a little three month old Porter baby. The deeper we look the more the sheriff’s silence is indefensible.

Little three-month-old Abraham Ramirez died in the final days that heated Republican runoff for sheriff.

We aren’t blaming Sheriff Rand Henderson for what this baby’s family may have allowed to happen.

If this guy really broke all those bones in that little boy’s body, he can rot in hell.

“My management philosophy is authentic leadership,” Rand Henderson said in an interview.

But, the sheriff’s handling of the case of little Abraham has exposed him.

We found out a sheriff’s deputy had been asked to go check on the little boy’s mom the day before Abraham was taken to the hospital all beaten up.

A citizen had called in about possible domestic abuse.

That deputy was Parris Ponton.

Sheriff Henderson refuses to show us the body camera video.

It apparently contains a racial slur as well as some sloppy police work.

“The video shows me going to the house, beating on the door, the mobile home. Nobody comes to the door,” Parris Ponton said.

Those are the deputy’s own words caught on a secret audio recording we have.

He’s now in trouble.

“Basically, they’re trying to say that, you know, had I actually done a welfare check, you know, I might have saved that baby and that lady,” Ponton said.

That’s because a relative was outside and the beaten baby was apparently inside.

Ponton didn’t ask to look inside, nor did he call back the person who complained.

“So when I got here, when I got inside, the cop was already leaving or whatever. When I got inside the house, I sat down, that’s when I heard the baby cry,” said Trish Martinez.

Protecting the most innocent among us has to be the primary goal of a sheriff, but he’s fighting hard to keep this botched welfare check a secret.

Henderson won’t let us see the deputy’s personnel records.

“They filed a complaint on me, and I was supposed to be promoted this Saturday,” Ponton said.

Even after the botched welfare check, we learned Ponton was going to be promoted.

That was only put on hold because we made this case public.

“What do you, how do you say it? They’re highly sensitive right now,” Ponton said.

Now Sheriff Henderson has an even bigger problem: just who is he hiring to protect abused women and children in Montgomery County?

Before Ponton was hired by Rand Henderson, he was an HPD officer with a history of suspensions—at least five sustained IAD complaints—the most recent: 20-day suspension because he supposedly fell into a ditch after drinking heavily, discharging his service weapon at least twice.

But there’s more: HPD knew that Ponton had been repeatedly accused of child abuse. His ex-wife’s sworn affidavit said his own six children were scared of him.

“He gets so angry and loses control,” said Ponton’s wife in an affidavit.

Yet, this is the man Rand Henderson sends to do domestic violence wellness checks.

“I think you have to do a thorough background investigation to determine who’s suitable for employment and serve the community the way we expect them to,” said Wesley Doolittle.

Wesley Doolittle, a former Texas Ranger, is running against Henderson to be the next Montgomery County Sheriff.

He called for the release of the body camera and transparency right away, but for two weeks he simply refused to talk to us on camera until we showed him Ponton’s history.

“I didn’t want to make it political or to seem political about my campaign. I don’t want to hide from the media. I want to be an open and transparent person,” Doolittle said.

Doolittle says this botched welfare check shouldn’t be swept under the rug, but used instead to better protect abused women and children.

“I believe in growing and teaching your employees. I’ll tell you that in most domestic calls like that, you want to see the victims, you want to see what’s going on and make sure they’re okay,” Doolittle said.

The former Texas ranger said he’s finally ready to call out the sheriff publicly for trying to hide this whole affair.

“And especially some of the allegations I’ve seen here. The public expects better from us in our community and they also expect to know when something’s happening, so we can ensure that it does not happen again,” Doolittle said.

But the controversy swirling around baby Abraham’s death is not the only reason Doolittle is now doing this on-camera interview, and we asked him why.

“Well, to address the issue is to address the false narrative that they’re driving about me,” said Doolittle.

Sheriff Henderson has taken plenty of shots at Doolittle, who is exposing rising crime in Montgomery County, unanswered 911 calls, and now this veil of secrecy.

In the final days of the campaign, you know what the sheriff is talking about?

The size of Doolittle’s cowboy hat.

“Just because you dress up and put a cowboy hat on doesn’t make you a sheriff,” Henderson said.

“You know, I grew up wearing a cowboy hat in Texas. I was a Texas Highway Patrolman. I wore a cowboy hat, and I was a Texas Ranger for 13 years. I believe I earned the right to wear the white hat that represents our Texas values of honesty. There’s traditional things we value in Texas, and those values built our state,” Doolittle told us.

The amount of money being spent in this Republican runoff is staggering.

The sheriff has accused the former Ranger of accepting out-of-state dark money.

He’s turned a contribution from a developer of Colony Ridge into the suggestion cartel money is coming in the race.

“It’s just reckless. They’re just scared, and they are throwing out things about me that are not true,” said Doolittle.

I know the business.

Fear tactics often work, but the sheriff has some explaining to do about his own campaign contributions.

He’s raised more than a million bucks—some of it from companies who won big contracts at the sheriff’s office.

The guy who runs Christenson Building has donated more than $65,000.

They’ve got contracts to build a new indoor shooting range and expansion of the District 4 Sheriff’s Office.

“Gerry Boyle pleaded guilty to committing mail fraud as part of his actions in providing money and other goods to the former sheriff,” said a news anchor.

Their founder was busted for bribes, but the sheriff has taken money from the WellPath PAC.

They have a contract for health services in the jail.

One of his biggest donors is an oncologist in Montgomery County named Asit Choksi.

We found his mug shot from a 2017 arrest for a terrorist threat.

He supposedly threatened his wife with a gun, but here’s something weird: you can’t find out whatever happened to the case.

It just disappeared.

But, folks in Montgomery County really don’t care about this battle over contributions.

They just care about safety, rising crime, a 911 system that seems to ignore some calls.

And they should care about transparency.

Rand Henderson has simply failed that test time and time again—at least with us.

He kept the murder of this little baby a secret for weeks and he is not coming clean about what went wrong here.

“We have an expectation from our community to be open and transparent with them. You have to let people know what’s happening,” Doolittle said.

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